I had a long post planned to discuss the need for presence and being in the moment. I sat down to write and as I was putting words to the page, breaking news came across my computer; there was a vicious attack at a nightclub in Orlando.  Wow. So many thoughts flooded through my mind.  Memories of that inescapable feeling of fear and vulnerability came back to me. I remembered that feeling of being unsure of whether the people I loved the most were alive. The news brought me back to my experience at the Boston Marathon when I heard those words forever etched in my mind, “there was a bombing at the finish line.”

I had a long post planned but writing about presence just doesn’t feel right.

As I reflect I recognize that this event could have happened to me or someone I love. None of us are truly immune to violence, no matter how much we like to pretend we are. And as a member of the queer community I feel somehow targeted, those were my “people” that were attacked. Suddenly the world feels unsafe.

I’m not going to turn this newsletter into an agenda or political platform – that will never be my intention. But I feel like it is necessary to reflect on a core element of resilience that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Compassion

As I sat down to write tonight, I reflect not on the hatred and cowardness that fueled this attack but rather on what happened afterward. Just like what happened after the Boston Marathon and other traumatic events, people came together in solidarity, support, and love.  People stood together to demonstrate the power of humanity and the tenacity of the human spirit.

At Boston, after I learned that my family was okay, I started walking several miles back to the hotel that we were staying in.  On what felt like an enormous journey (I had just ran over 25 miles, I was tired, hungry, and freezing) I witnessed firsthand this phenomenon taking place.  People gave me food, clothing, a bathroom, and many hugs. The awkward divide that sometimes separates strangers simply did not exist. I was suddenly a friend, a neighbor, family, and people did everything they could to help me get through.

I woke up this morning with my social media being inundated by hundreds of newscasts reporting on thousands of people participating in vigils across the world yesterday-people joining hands in love, demonstrating that hate cannot and will not prevail.

Just think – if we all did this a little more often – if we stood together and let down our walls proactively rather than in response to tragedy, how might we change the world?

I’m not asking you to do something dramatic. I just hope that reading this newsletter has inspired something within you. I hope that you feel a fire, like I do, to live your life with compassion and to help people in whatever way you can.

My mother used to make pots of spaghetti and deliver it to the homeless people of San Diego. Her selfless act helped so many people and inspired me as a young child to help others as well.

Take a moment to tell someone you love them.
Take a moment to give someone a hug.
Tell a colleague just how much you appreciate them.
Tell your boss, just how much they inspire you.
Make a list of 10 things that you are grateful for – Share the list with a friend.
Buy a stranger a cup of coffee
Do something, anything, for someone else.

Thank you all for sharing in my journey, for reading my newsletters, responding to my posts, and following me as I continue to share what’s on my mind.  You are very much appreciated.

Thanks for reading,
Ryan